Welcome, one and all, to the WRATH OF TITO. Monday night came and went, and we'll see if it was a good show heading into Wrestlemania. I don't know about you, but I just don't feel as though it's Wrestlemania time or not. I'm sure Wrestlemania 19 will be good, but the hype for it seems to be less than in years before. That, or the long failures of the RAW brand make me care less in 2003 than I would in other years. Who knows?
On Saturday night, I went to the Shawn Michaels autograph signing at the Wheeling Nailers minor league hockey game in Wheeling, WV. VERY nice guy. He seemed to be in great spirits, as he smiled for every picture and laughed when this lady from the Special Olympics gave him a GIGANTIC kiss on the top of his head. I got an autograph, and I had my picture taken with him as well. But this was the total opposite from the horror stories I heard about autograph signings before Michaels became a born-again christian. Very opposite.
The funny thing was that I didn't stay for the Nailers hockey game afterward. As I was leaving the door, a ticket guy said "if you leave this building, you can't come back in without buying a new ticket". I said "I know", and continued outward. He looked very upset as though I just slapped him or something. I bought the ticket for the game, so I have the right to do whatever I want to do with it, even if it's walking out the door. What's even better is that the Wheeling Nailers now give discounts for College students, if you show them your ID. I got in for a whopping $5, so ain't no thang!
The picture with Michaels cost $10. That's not bad, especially when you consider at the XWF independent show I went to on Thursday, they were charging $10 for POLAROIDS and the autograph. Almost the same price for Michaels. I'd probably pay $10 for Hacksaw Jim Duggan at the indie show, but for Doink Version 929383.0 and the Steve Austin rip off known as EVEN COLDER MIKE AUSTIN, hell no!
Well, it looks as though Bill Goldberg is with the WWE now. Plans are to possibly have him attack the Rock at Wrestlemania, only to show up on RAW the next night. That would be perfect. For the past 3 years, the WWE hasn't had that blockbuster night after Wrestlemania to get people talking. Oh no. Bill Goldberg showing up with get some wrestling fans out of the woodwork, but how long until they get bored with him? How long until Goldberg suffers an injury?
I mean, I see plenty of positives, IF HE CAN STAY HEALTHY. A match with Austin would headline anything and its mother, as would a match with Triple H(doubtful it would ever happen). It makes me curious, though, if fans still remember Goldberg, who was last seen at WCW Sin, the January Pay Per View of 2001. That was a whole 2 years ago, and you can factor in that nobody was watching WCW at the time. Although, people have been chanting Goldberg's name during early Brock Lesnar matches, and they screamed for Bill when Vince McMahon mentioned his name on the famous WCW buyout show.
I'm optimistic about it because I've wanted Bill Goldberg in the WWE for quite some time. Hell, I used to encourage those Goldberg chants at WWE shows. I hope it works out, but I also hope the WWE realizes that Bill Goldberg is only a quick fix to the problem of what could be a long summer in terms of business. The need to create brand new stars while not trying to rely on past stars for higher business has bit the WWE right in the ass since early 2002. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, the late Curt Hennig, and Scott Steiner have not lived up to expectations. Goldberg has to, especially when the WWE probably gave into Goldberg financially.
We'll see what goes on next month. On to the RAW review.
RAW starts off with Steve Austin coming down to the ring. He has a problem with Eric Bischoff and the Rock. He eventually threatens to stay around the ring, but Eric Bischoff greets him with a restraining order and a bunch of cops. Wow, they didn't do this in 1998 or anything. OH NO! So Austin is escorted out of the arena, and the lack of the usual RAW ramp shows he'll be back later in some kind of vehicle. How original. Seriously, and the WWE wonders why the pop of Steve Austin from the crowds has been lower since his return (besides the fact that the WWE buried him after he walked out last Summer). For the love of Christ, get some new material besides "Top Faces vs. Evil Authority", and even if you do that angle, get some fresh material besides the recycled restraining order gig. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic how the WWE can't come up with any reasonable or fresh storylines after being very innovative in 1998.
Our first match of the night was Jeff Hardy/Trish Stratus vs. Victoria/Stevie Richards. How many mixed tag matches involving Victoria, Jazz, and Trish can this show possibly produce. Let's get some FRESH ideas, assholes backstage. You wonder why the ratings continue to drop, and that's because you can't innovate. Everyone backstage is so lazy to think up anything new that they recycle everything, especially when they book every show on the fly. This match was incredibly short, not that I'm complaining. The Jeff Hardy and Trish relationship is hardly believeable.
I'm fucking tired of the Goldust twitching storyline. Goldust was funny enough without the twitching, and he could deliver a promo better than most wrestlers on the RAW roster. It's pathetic that he has to go through this, as it's NOT creating a crowd reaction and it's just another way to hold a good wrestling talent down. Goldust and Booker T were very much over in 2002, but they were always getting screwed in the tag ranks. Now that they are single, Goldust has an embarrassing storyline and Booker T will become the latest victim of Triple H's glass ceiling at Wrestlemania.
Our next match was Scott Steiner vs. Christian. This wasn't too bad, and probably the best match yet for Steiner. Christian bumped well to make things look good, and Steiner seems to be in better shape, in a cardio way, to handle a match. I don't know who he'll fight at Wrestlemania, and it's convenient of Ross to hype that he'll be there, yet not hype a match for him or give him someone to feud with.
Chief Morley and Lance Storm are now declared the new RAW World Tag champions. Seriously, could you take a bigger shit on those tag titles than you've already done? I mean, the Smackdown titles were just created last summer, and they have WAY more credibility than the Tag Titles on RAW, which actually have histories of 2 tag titles behind them.
Ric Flair/Triple H vs. Goldust/Booker T was up next. It was fun to watch when Ric Flair was in the ring, but you can clearly see the big problem of the RAW roster when Triple H is in. He hardly gives much back to his opponents, whereas in 2000, he was bumping for everyone and their mother. Plus, his offense is so slow and boring, and he lacks any speed due to his quad surgery and extra muscle mass he now has. I loved seeing Ric Flair in the ring again, to be honest with you. It's too bad we can't take a time machine and get Flair 10 years younger or something so that he could keep wrestling here in 2003. PROOF of why Booker T is jobbing was shown here, as he got the pin on Triple H during this tag match, meaning "Triple H will get his heat back at Wrestlemania". Anyone who believes Booker T will win at Wrestlemania needs to get their head checked.
I liked the stuff with Chris Jericho growing up as a wrestler and wanting to be just like Shawn Michaels. Good segment, and Michaels vs. Jericho could very well steal the show at Wrestlemania.
Next match was the Dudley Boyz vs. Kane/Rob Van Dam. Decent tag match. The Dudleys were taking it easy, given Bubba's bad back for the moment. So Kane and RVD are off to Wrestlemania to take on the pathetic team of Morley and Storm. I'm guessing they'll take the titles, BUT for how long will they keep the titles? They seem to follow the same formula as Booker T and Goldust, in that both wrestlers can be dangerous to steal the spotlight from Triple H, so they are held down in a title-less tag team.
God damn! So many commercials in hour 2!
GREAT stuff by the Rock to finish out the show. He's truly "ahead of the curve" on the RAW roster. Being an actor is paying off, in some ways, and the fact that the writers are whipping out good songs for him helps. Wow, the writers are doing something good?!? Just one thing. Heaven forbid they give any original material for Austin. Speaking of Steve Austin, he snuck into the arena through his truck, which the Hurricane drove to distract the cops, and the show ended with Austin attacking the Rock and smashing Rocky's guitar. Truly innovative stuff, not.
Oh, but the show is NOT over just yet. Vince McMahon comes out and we see the whole Hogan/McMahon contract signing from Smackdown. Then, we see the whole stuff with Angle/Lesnar from Smackdown. Terrible bonus coverage, which we could gladly get on Velocity if we wanted it that badly. I guess with the 24/7 War Coverage and the NCAA tournament, the ratings were effected, but I keep preaching this till the day I die: if people want to watch wrestling, they'll watch wrestling, no matter what. There should be no excuses unless your show is pre-empted. That's it.
LAST WORD: Another troublesome week for the WWE, as their RAW rating came in at a 3.5 rating. That is TERRIBLE heading into Wrestlemania. I liked the 2 tag matches of Flair/HHH vs. Booker/Goldust and Kane/RVD vs. Dudleys, and Steiner vs. Christian wasn't bad. I liked the Rock, as usual, and Jericho/HBK's segment. I can't, though, stress enough how terribly recycled many other matches or storylines are right now, such as Austin or anything involving the Women's division. Enough with the Top Face Wrestler vs. Evil Authority angle, for the love of Christ! I'll give this show a [ B ] (B). But I fear Wrestlemania could be a disaster in some areas for the RAW roster, such in the way that fans might cheer for the Rock this Sunday, the tag match will be weak or have a bad result, and it will be a shame to see Triple H retaining the title.
Check out the Valley Wrestling Federation and Willygoat Xtreme Wrestling. Two great backyard feds!
SNACKBAR-GAMES.com - Video game reviews and much more!
LoPForums.com - LoP's Message Boards, where you can discuss wrestling, sports, entertainment, and anything else!
@See you whenever....
Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.